2020 BMW 3-Series has come a long way in its 7th generation, maintaining a legacy of 40 years. The strong point of 3-Series has always been flexible and accessible power which is coupled with tamable driving dynamics. The 3-Series has had its fair share of criticism over the past few generations ranging from subpar interior fit and finish to unpredictable and sketchy driving dynamics. BMW has been paying heed to all of this and learning well.
2020 3-Series is the cumulative effort to eradicate all of its downsides and thus bring it closer to being a well rounded thrilling machine. Speaking of thrill, the 3-Series is also available in a steroid pumped M Sport variant and is priced at Rs. 47.90 lakhs. The base variant starts from Rs. 41.40 lakh and the first chapter of BMW rivals against Mercedes Benz C-Class. It also gets close competition from the likes of Jaguar XE and Audi A4.
The 2020 3-Series is available in three variants for India and it consists of two diesel and a top of the line petrol variants. BMW omitted the 6-pot M340i and 33d for India and is a bummer as these two would have upheld the sheer driving pleasure bimmers are known for. But taking Indian driving conditions into reference, the three variants on offer are not bad either. The base 330i Sport variant is priced at Rs. 41.70 lakh and goes all the way up to Rs. 48.50 for the 330i M Sport which gets all the added thrill.
Both the petrol and diesel engines are 2.0L which are turbocharged are coupled to the ever so sweet-shifting ZF sourced 8-Speed automatic transmission. The chemistry between the engines and gearbox is unreal and will instantly remind you of what the German automaker stands for!
320d Luxury Line
330i M Sport
Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)
BMW Kidney Grille in Black High-Gloss
|All the features in 320d Sport added/replaced and:||All the features in 320d Luxury Line added/replaced and:|
Automatic LED headlamps and LED foglamps
|10.25-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay||18-inch alloy wheels|
17-inch alloy wheels
|12.3-inch digital instrument cluster||Optional M Sport suspension|
|Ambient lighting||Integrated antenna|
Side window graphic in Aluminium with anodised look
|Park Assist with camera||BMW gesture control|
Three-zone automatic climate control
|Chrome garnish on window sills|
8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with 10 speaker audio unit
Rain sensing wipers
Upholstery in Sensatec
Sport and Luxury Line cannot be pointed apart without proper examination, but what instantly stands out from the lot is the 330i M Sport or as we would like to call it- The 3 on steroids. Features are also well divided among the three with features like the full LCD instrument cluster and bigger infotainment coming into the picture only from the Luxury Line variant.
We would have told you to go for the Luxury Line variant which has all of the luxury and creature comfort features along with a well-balanced powertrain setup that has drastically improved over the years. BUT, then the 3rill machine can be yours for a bump of Rs. 1 lakh. This added Rs. 1 lakh will give you a screaming 2.0L petrol motor that churns out 68 more horses along with the flexibility of adding M approved pieces. Well, we wouldn't hesitate to go for it and neither should you.
BMW has worked upon its powertrain setups for India and improved on the performance levels. There are two engines on offer, a 2.0L turbo-diesel to start with that churns out 190 horses and 400 twisting forces. Then we have the pumped up 2.0L turbo petrol which generates 258 horses and 400 Nm which stays true to providing with sheer driving pleasure.
Both the engines are coupled to ZF sourced 8-Speed automatic gearboxes which have gotten better over time. In the seventh generation, it syncs well with all three of the driving modes available in the 3-Series. Eco-Pro is for you to have unapologetic fun while saving fuel whereas Comfort and Sport are the opposite poles. Comfort mode has a fluffy approach to the driving dynamics with even thing toned down to be more linear and comfortable.
Models and Variant
BMW 3-Series 330i Sport
Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200 Prime
Audi A4 Premium Plus
Jaguar XE S
Price (Ex-Showroom Delhi)
Rs. 41.70 lakh
Rs. 40.90 lakh
Rs. 41.49 lakh
Rs. 40.60 lakh
2.0-litre twin-turbo TwinPower four-cylinder Diesel
1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Petrol
1.4-litre turbocharged 30 TFSI four-cylinder Petrol
2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium four-cylinder Petrol
ZF 8-Speed Automatic
9-Speed G-Tronic Automatic
7-Speed S Tronic DSG
And Sport mode is for when you have your eyes wide open and a wide grin on your face. It will surely get the best of you. Bimmers are known as the ultimate driving machines for a reason and it is visible in this comparison. For the same price point, Audi and Mercedes-Benz struggle with the performance numbers. Jaguar XE is an exception though. The Jag has 7 extra horses but then again it is not on a diet as the 3-Series.
This is where the made in heaven combination of the 2.0L engine and 8-Speed automatic transmission bears the sweetest fruit. Looks can be deceiving but in case of the 3-Series, it goes as fast as it looks. The diesel motor is fairly powered and goes swiftly with the help of the slick-shifting 8-Speed gearbox. BMW has also done serious under the hood changes for the diesel powerplant. It now houses twin sequential turbos instead of the old twin-scroll setup.
This helps the engine to eliminate any remaining lag during the spool up and this narrows down the difference between a turbocharged unit and a naturally as aspirated one. But things get serious with the turbocharged petrol engine as it shaves off a whole second in the 100 KMPH run and does it in 5.8 seconds. This is because of the change in the power curve which helps it with ample low and mid-range torque.
0-100 kmph (seconds)
2.0-litre twin-turbo TwinPower four-cylinder Diesel
1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Petrol
1.4-litre turbocharged TFSI four-cylinder Petrol
|2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium four-cylinder Petrol|
The diesel 3-Series is not bad as it ties up with the most powerful one of this lot, Jaguar XE in terms of acceleration figures. Mercedes-Benz and Audi suffer gravely due to its performance crunch and thus are far off from the table toppers.
BMW has been persistently improving on its driving dynamics and its pleasing to say that the 7th generation G20(internal name-enthusiast level) has been cultivated well. The suspension setup is much more balanced now and takes on most of our unpredictable roads with ease. There is a bit of jumpiness at low speeds due to the softer rear springs but it is negligible and is far better than the last iteration.
Steering is precise and crisp and you will love the way it turns. There is no confusion and the new spring damping setup hugely complements driving dynamics and helps it hold ground, no matter the driving scenario. The wider dimensions help in better load distribution as compared to the previous generation and thus results in lesser body roll.
The braking setup was already impressive on the 3-Series. Now with the adaptation of the BMW's new cluster architecture, the car is lighter by 55 kg which helps to reduce the unladen load. This, in turn, helps the brakes perform its duties with much more conviction.
Disc brakes all round comes backed with the safety cluster of ABS, EBD and cornering brake control(CBC). CBC is a smart adaptation which modulates braking force while corners thus providing for added levels of control. The wider stance and low slung approach help nullify nose dives drastically and vents at the front and rear help in cooling the brakes through proper air channelliKE.
Kerb Weight (kg)
Kerb weight is crucial in brake performance and BMW has balanced it well here. Audi A4 is the lightest of the lot and so it will have a fair share of benefits. All the cars in this face-off have added wizardry helping in providing with impressive braking performance.
BMW left no stones unturned while improving on the 3-Series. Fuel efficiency is the checkmate for many cars in India and so it plays a crucial role. Mileage figures have gone up in the 3-Series and now stands at 16.13 kmpl for the diesel powerplant. The three drive modes also amplify the efficiency of this car as you have the flexibility to switch between modes as per your driving demands and thus not stress the powertrain instantaneously.
These mileage figures were noted off Eco Pro mode as both Comfort and Sport will chuck in more fuel to keep things smooth. The gear ratios are also shorter now which helps in quick shifts. This helps in reduced load on the gears which eventually shows up in the fuel economy. BMW could have done with a bigger fuel tank as it would have made it a well-rounded tourer as well.
Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)
Mercedes-Benz has the largest fuel tank of this lot and thus can run the longest without a pitstop. Audi coupled with its smaller engine and lowes kerb weight puts the most efficient setup on the table but is let down by its smallest fuel tank. But it still manages to chuck out the most range of this lot.
2020 BMW 3-Series has considerably grown in size. It is now longer and wider which suits its new-found agility and sharpness. BMW had been making its line-up sharper year on year and this has to be the sharpest iteration of 3-Series yet. The most prominent change upfront is the larger kidney grille which unlike its elders looks much more compact and in sync. Another throwback design update is the wedge integration in the headlamps. It reminds you of the E46 M3 which is a neat touch and enthusiast will feel nostalgia hitting hard.
Coming to the sides, it retains the same form factor but we now have increasing shoulder bulges as we proceed towards the rear. It helps give the sharp 3-Series a muscular appeal. The taillights are smoked and have a highlighted "L" section which gives it a fresh look. Dual exhausts are standard on all variants and look the part. And when it comes to the 330i M Sport, it sounds the part as well!
Kerb weight (kg)
Ground clearance (mm)
Both the front and rear bumpers have been redesigned to form a more angular and aggressive stance. It suits the vehicle and its purpose well. You get the 3-Series in both 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels with the M Sprot getting a unique design. Despite being wider and longer, it is still undercut by the rivals. The compact form factor helps it have an edge in the urban jungle in manoeuvrability. Audi A4 and Jaguar XE are the least practical ones of this bunch, as with the least ground clearance, you are destined to scrape the underbody.
Some of the notable exterior features are:
The cabin of 2020 3-Series like any other Bimmer is cleanly laid out with numerous premium bits. The seats are laid low owing to its sporty appeal. Due to its low seating position, ingress and egress is a task and is not everyone's cup of tea, especially the elderly. But once you make yourself cosy in the plush leather seats, you are treated to a driver-focused cockpit that has all of the bits laid out beautifully and precisely.
The steering wheel is well propositioned and feels superb to hold and you needn't let go of it as all of the controls to the infotainment system are integrated onto the steering wheel. "Start/Stop" button is placed in the centre consoles besides the gear lever along with the driving modes. The dashboard is low and is dominated by the 10.25-inch infotainment unit at the centre.
The driver seat gets electric adjustments with memory function and the front row states provide with impressive support which is a boon on long journeys. The second row is also equally impressive as BMW has given the same importance for passenger comfort as the driver. Fitting 3 people in, is still a fuss, as the transmission tunnel becomes a hindrance. You even get a third headrest at the rear which is well thought of.
The rear passengers will not feel our gruesome weather conditions as dedicated air-con vents direct ample cool air to the rear with individual adjustments. There are no hard plastics here and BMW has done an impeccable job with the fit and finish of the cabin. Feeling moody and want to chill off?! BMW has also thought of it and provides with customizable ambient lighting on the top two variants.
The iDrive system is what makes this car as comfortable as it is. It is by far, the most intuitive and feature-packed infotainment unit we have come across and BMW has made it better in this interaction of the 3-Series! The 10.25-inch touch screen unit is the window to all your wishes and you have the flexibility of choosing three input methods. The most obvious is touch, then comes the bimmer touchpad and the most impressive is voice and gesture control.
The gesture control is so advanced that it even works in limited lighting. The display quality is top-notch and shows no sign of glare even in the harshest of lights. Another important intuitive unit is the 12.3-inch colour LCD instrument cluster which is customizable to the root. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available but not in the base variant.
The added length and width has also helped improve on the cargo volume. With 480 litres in hand, it can easily gulp in a weekend's worth of your family luggage and still have room for more, thanks to those smart chubby holes in the space. The opening is wide and low which helps for easy loading and unloading of cargo.
The soft-touch cargo floor is laid out flat and housed the full-sized spare along with the toolkit. Notice the deep pockets on either side, near the wheel wells. Those pockets can be used to store small cargo. The trunk hinges are neatly hidden in enclosures which helps give the cargo space a clean look.
Cargo Volume with rear seats up (Litres)
The new 3-Series has one of the best cargo volumes in this lot which is also shared by the Audi A4. The heaviest sedan of the lot has the least cargo volume and it makes less and less sense! Mercedes-Benz is short of 5 litres and our wildest guess is that it lacks those smart chubby holes.
BMW has not shied away from packing the best safety bundle in the new 3-Series. It comes with an interesting set of features and as always the crisp infotainment display organizes it in the simplest way possible and thus avoiding any mess.
The 3-Series comes standard with ABS, EBD, DSC and TPMS. This generation has not been crash-tested but as this is the betterment of its predecessor we can very well consider the last generation which scored a perfect 5 Star in overall safety and so we needn't be worried about this one.
BMW 3-Series is the culmination of luxury and performance in the mid-size luxury sedan segment. If a perfect blend of performance, handling and luxury is what you crave for then hands down, go for the 3-Series. The A4 is German, luxurious and elegant but lacks gravely on the performance front and its formula is not as defined as that of the 3rill machine. Moreover, nothing can substitute the M madness!
The Jaguar XE is one of aggressive-looking one's terms of design. But looks alone cannot win as the Jag scores low in practicality and weight management. Moreover, the automaker is plagued with a very glitchy service network and aftersales experience. So, we would not want you to miss out on the golden egg of this lot and thus vouch for the bimmer.
Mercedes-Benz has been playing cat and mouse with Bimmer for a long time in India. But BMW manages to stay a step ahead at all times. Merc tries its best to click onto the consumer market but BMW provides with a more price to performance ratio that instantly out-weighs potential consumers away from Mercedes-Benz, and it has also done the same for us. Mercedes-Benz has come a long way but it still doesn't have the muscle to take this bimmer.
BMW has been paying attention to all the criticism coming its way and so it has worked on improving its line-up in India. The 3-Series has also gone through a lot of changes over the past generations. The latest iteration in hand has its handling dynamics sorted out, has flexible engines to choose from and is close to perfect on the inside. The 3-Series has been the start of any Bavarian dream and the 2020 iteration gives you more reasons to dream.